Art

Greece May Ask for Return of Parthenon’s “Elgin Marbles” in Brexit Deal

The British Museum maintains the sculptures were removed legally

A visitor walks around the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles in Room 18 of the British Museum, on 12th June 2018, in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images)
A visitor walks around the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles in Room 18 of the British Museum, on 12th June 2018, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / February 20, 2020 7:47 am

As we’re seeing in Europe, divorce is messy. Take London’s British Museum, which is full of stolen artifacts.At least a few of them might be highlighted in the UK’s negotiations with the European Union over Brexit. As CBS reports, a draft of the deal between 27 European nations and Britain seeks the “return or restitution of unlawfully removed cultural objects to their countries of origin.”

Specifically, Greece may demand that the British Museum return the Parthenon Marbles — also known as the Elgin Marbles, named after Lord Elgin of Scotland who removed them more than 200 years ago. The marble sculptures, which formerly decorated the Parthenon on the Acropolis, have been on display at the museum since 1817.

“Elgin’s team was active on the Acropolis, hacking off and causing considerable damage to the sculptures and the monument, eventually detaching and dismembering a significant part (more or less half) of the remaining sculpted decoration of the Parthenon,” the Greek culture ministry says on its website. However, the British Museum maintains the marbles were taken legally.

“The British Museum welcomes this mandate and is committed to fighting the trade in illicit antiquities across the world,” a spokesperson for the museum told CBS. “The Parthenon Sculptures were legally acquired and help us to tell the story of human history presented at the Museum. … The British Museum welcomes this mandate which reflects the 1970 UNESCO convention that the Museum abides by.”

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter. 

Daily Brief

News From Around the Web

April 6, 2020